Winning Home Buying Strategies from Industry Insiders

Winning Home Buying Strategies

Winning Home Buying Strategies and Secrets from Industry Insiders

Thinking about buying a home? Since it’s likely the single biggest investment you will ever make, being prepared will help you make a smarter purchase decision. Don’t make an offer until you read and understand these real estate insider tips.   Download PDF

Know your buying power

What is buying power? It is the combination of how much you can realistically pay for a home and your credit-worthiness. You’ll need money saved for the down payment — which is typically between 10% – 20% of the price — as well as cash for closing costs, such as transfer tax, PMI, title insurance, and legal fees. For ongoing mortgage and maintenance, your monthly obligation shouldn’t be more than 36% of your monthly gross income.

A good credit score is usually 720 or above. A loan professional can help you figure out your buying power and give you a clearer idea of if your score is in the ‘good’ range. Have them check your score for you so that you don’t inadvertently lower your score by checking it yourself. You want to clean up your credit as soon as you can, and definitely before you get a mortgage pre-approval.

Don’t try to time the market

Even within a city’s limits, there can be micro markets that are increasing or decreasing in value. A knowledgeable buyer’s agent can provide you with a buyer’s market analysis report, outlining which neighborhoods are still up and coming — with potential for increased property value — versus those that have peaked with inflated home prices.

There’s never a perfect time to buy a home, even if you’re in a hot market. It can take a while to know what you like, and you may need to see 10 or more houses before you decide. Another good reason to be patient: you might find a better deal. Look for expired listings, which may offer more price flexibility and accept a lower-than-list offer. Don’t bother with FSBO (for sale by owner) listings though — since they’re not represented by a professional, they are often overpriced.

Be ready to make a stand-out offer

If you love it, make the offer. Otherwise, that dream home may disappear faster than you think, and especially if you’re buying in a hot market. Have your buying agent contact the listing agent before you submit an offer so that they can decide what’s important to include in the offer. If you’re serious about putting in an offer, you want to increase the chances that it’s accepted.

Show that you’re serious about the purchase by creating a buyer’s offer packet. It should include your lender’s preapproval letter, a screenshot of your down payment money in your bank account, and comps that support the rationalization of the offer you are presenting.

Once you’re in the negotiation process, have the inspection conducted before it’s too late to back out of a deal. If there are any major structural issues, you may be able to make the seller repair them as a contingency to your offer. Minor issues that you can repair on your own may be points for negotiating a lower offer.

Work with a professional for insider exclusives

If you’re thinking about buying a home soon, or even in the near future, let me know the details. I may have just what you’re looking for in an exclusive listing not available to the general public – so get in touch today!

This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.

Real Estate FAQ: What Are Some Negotiating Tips?

A: Know the seller’s motivation to sell. This will enhance your negotiating position.  Sellers who must move quickly due to a job transfer, divorce, or contract on another home, are more inclined to accept a lower price to speed the process along.

Remember, too, that the listing, or asking, price is what the seller would like to receive for the home. It is not necessarily what the seller will settle for. So know value. Before you make an offer, check recent sales and listing prices of comparable neighborhood homes and compare them to the seller’s asking price.

Other tips:

-Be flexible.  Never say, “take it or leave it.” That can sour negotiations and ruin the deal.

-Never show your hand or reveal your next step.

-Each time you increase your offering price ask for something in return, such as repairs, appliances, even lawn furniture.

-If you plan to pay cash or have a tentative commitment for a loan, use your strong financial position as a negotiating tool.

-Don’t let emotions such as pride, fear, love, and anger get in the way of negotiating the best deal.  Leave irrational feelings at home.

This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

Is It Smart to Buy A Fixer-Upper as Your First Home?

Contributed by William Giakoumatos
Buying your first home can be very exciting. Among all the decisions you’ll have to make when you seek that home is whether you want to buy one that’s ready to move into and live in as is, or one that needs a little work. Many people buy fixer-uppers because of the lower cost, but sometimes those kinds of homes can end up costing you a lot more in the long run. Here are some things to consider when you’re trying to decide whether it’s smart for you to buy a fixer-upper or not.

1. What can you get in your price range?
Many first-time homebuyers are on tight budgets. They don’t have a lot of money to spend, and they want to live in a good area. Overall, location is more important than the house, because the house can be changed. If you can’t get into a good area without buying a fixer-upper, it may be worth considering. Just be sure you’re really buying in a location you like and one that you want to remain in for a while so you can get the best deal and turn your house into a solid investment. Look at several houses, both fixer-uppers and finished, before deciding.

2. How handy are you, really?
There’s a big difference between painting a room and fixing that plumbing leak. When you’re considering a fixer-upper for your first home, make sure you’re honest about your skill level. Don’t buy into more than you can fix, or than you can afford to have fixed. By getting a good, thorough home inspection, you’ll have a better idea of what kinds of improvements really need to be made. That can help you make the right decision based on the work you’re able to do on the home.

3. How much savings do you have to use for repairs?
Repair budgets rarely get adjusted downward. Typically, it will cost more than you expect to repair a home. Even if you have plenty of savings, it’s a good idea to get some repair estimates before committing to buying. That way, you’ll have realistic numbers you can look at when you’re trying to decide if that home is the right one for you. Surprise expenses can still crop up, but there will be fewer of them to contend with.

4. Do you have friends and family who can help?
If your uncle is a contractor and you have a niece in the design business, your odds of doing well with a fixer-upper just got better. When you have people who are in skilled trades and can help you work on your home, you can save a lot of money in labor costs and protect your investment more easily. It’s not a requirement to have people like that in your family when you buy a house that needs work, but it can certainly help the process.

5. How long do you plan to live in the home?
Renovating a home takes time. If you don’t plan to live in your first home for a long time, you might not want to buy something that requires a lot of work. You don’t want to get into the middle of a renovation and decide that you need to move. It can be very difficult to sell a home that’s in the middle of renovations, and you’re likely to lose a lot of money in the process. Don’t buy a fixer-upper you aren’t really committed to keeping for years.

6. How is the market where you’re looking?
If it’s a buyer’s market in your location, you may be able to get a great home for a much lower price. With that in mind, you could get into a home that needs less work and still not have to break your budget. Markets that favor the seller are going to have higher home prices, so buying a fixer-upper to get into a better neighborhood could be the way to go. There’s nothing wrong with buying a house that needs some work, as long as you’ve done your homework and are prepared to handle the changes that need to be made.

7. Are the home’s issues cosmetic or something more?
Cosmetic issues are things that can be lived with, even if you’re not crazy about the way they look. If you have structural issues, though, you can’t just leave those alone and not worry about them. They have to be fixed. Finding out which the home has and how much it will cost to correct any structural problems is very important if you’re considering a fixer-upper for your
first home.

William Giakoumatos is the current vice president of American Custom Contractors. They are a commercial and residential contractor company in the Washington, D.C. Metro area. Servicing businesses and homeowners for more than 40 years, ACC prides themselves with the added value from their work.

This post was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Check the blog daily for winning real estate tips and trends for you and your clients.

This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

How to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck when Upgrading Your Rental Property

By Silvia Englert, General Manager at Houserie.com

If you own rental property, you want to get the highest return on the money you invest in the property. Deciding on the rental price and what improvements to make to the rental all affect the ROI and can be a difficult task. The time period between one tenant moving out and another tenant moving in offers the perfect opportunity for landlords to update and improve their rentals to maximize return on investment. To make your rental stand out in your neighborhood and attract many “good” tenants that are willing to pay “top” dollar in rent, you should consider making some updates before putting the property back on the market. Here are a few ways you can upgrade your property and get a nice ROI without spending an arm and a leg.

Give the Kitchen a Facelift

The kitchen is often the most important room to the future tenant as people tend to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. A facelift does not mean ripping everything out. Replacing old black and white appliances with stainless steel Energy Star certified appliances is always a huge hit. If the cabinets are in bad shape, re-facing them could be an economical decision. Even just replacing the hardware with brushed nickel knobs and pulls can give the kitchen a whole new look. Dependent on your budget, a solid surface countertop might be another way to give that kitchen an updated look that will last a long time! These kitchen improvements will net you more money each month and increase the value of your property, should you choose to sell it at a later point.

Install an Energy Star Certified Washer and Dryer

Most tenants do not like buying washers and dryers as they are expensive purchases and are difficult to move. However, going to a laundromat is expensive as well and very time consuming for the tenant. Installing an energy efficient washer and dryer in your property will attract more renters and can increase your rent by as much as $100/month!

Replace Old Carpet with Laminate or Hardwood Flooring

Replacing old carpet with hard surface flooring will not only attract tenants and save you lots of money in carpet cleaning costs but it also gives you the opportunity to advertise your property as pet-friendly. Hardwood floors would be great but laminate is a more economical option. In the long term this upgrade will add hundreds of dollars annually to your ROI.

“Freshen Up” the Bathroom

Another item on most renters must-have list are updated bathrooms. If you don’t have the budget for a full upgrade, the bare minimum – new faucets, showerheads, and fixtures – can instantly give that bathroom a “newer” look. Even new knobs on the cabinets and a fresh coat of paint can make an “old” bathroom” look more modern and fresh!

Replace Old Appliances with Energy Star Efficient Models

Energy Star appliances can save a tenant a substantial amount of money on a monthly basis. Replacing a refrigerator and an outdated HVAC system can reduce energy costs by as much as 20 percent. Make sure when you replace appliances to advertise that in your rental listing. Tenants are willing to pay more rent if they know that their energy costs will be lower.

Make Some Aesthetic Improvements and Keep it Neutral

Cosmetic upgrades can attract more potential tenants and can increase the rental income of your property significantly. A fresh coat of paint and some new light fixtures will show tenants that you are taking care of your property. Make sure when making cosmetic upgrades to keep the colors and design light and neutral so tenants can imagine giving the space a personal touch.

When upgrading your rental property it is important to only spend money on things that will impress your tenants and get you the most bang for your buck. Also make sure the improvements are not over the top and in line with the “quality” of the rental while keeping the neighborhood and prospective tenants in mind. Stick to your budget and put your money where your prospective tenants will appreciate it most!

For more Information, visit www.houserie.com, follow us and like us on Facebook or visit our Landlord Blogs.


This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

6 Good Credit Habits for Buyers and Renters

Your credit score has a critical impact on your housing options, and healthy credit is essential to buying a home or renting one. “An important step to finding a home, whether you’re renting or buying, is ensuring that you have a good credit history,” says Frank Keating, president and CEO of the American Bankers Association (ABA). “A strong credit score can open doors to better homes and lower mortgage rates.”

To build a good credit history, the ABA recommends adopting these habits.

1. Request a copy of your credit report–and make sure it is correct. Your credit report illustrates your credit performance, and it needs to be accurate so that you can apply for other loans, such as a mortgage. Everyone is entitled to receive a free copy of his or her credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting agencies, but you must go through the Federal Trade Commission’s website at www.AnnualCreditReport.com or call 1-877-322-82281-877-322-8228 FREE. Note that you may have to pay for the numerical score itself.

2. Set up automatic bill pay.Payment history makes up 32 percent of your VantageScore credit score and 35 percent of your FICO credit score. The more you pay your bills on time, the better your score. Avoid missed payments by setting as many of your bills to automatic pay as possible.

3. Keep balances low on credit cards and ‘revolving credit.’ Racking up big balances can hurt your scores, regardless of whether you pay your bills in full each month. You often can increase your scores by limiting your charges to 30 percent or less of a card’s limit.

4. Apply for and open new credit accounts only as needed. Keep this in mind the next time a retailer offers you 10 percent off if you open an account. If you need a new line of credit, don’t jump at the first appealing offer; compare rates and fees offered through mail solicitation, on the Internet or at your local bank.

5. Don’t close old paid off accounts.According to FICO, closing accounts can never help your score and can in fact damage it.

6. Talk to credit counselors if you’re in trouble. Using legitimate, non-profit credit counseling can help you manage your debt and won’t hurt your credit score. For more information on debt management, contact the National Foundation for Consumer Credit by visiting www.NFCC.org.

Source: ABA.com

This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

Know Before You Owe: More Homeowner Insights

By John Voket

I am always thrilled to hear when folks make the jump to homeownership. And it’s important for prospective homeowners to know about all the resources available to them to help the experience go as smoothly as possible, especially when it comes to financing.

In the first of this two-part report we clued potential homeowners in on the U.S. Consumer Finance Protection Bureau’s new (consumerfinance.gov) report that featured some revealing data – particularly that almost half of consumers do not shop around for a mortgage when purchasing a home.

Among the key findings were:

  • Almost half of consumers who take out a mortgage fail to shop prior to filling out an application for a mortgage.
  • While half of consumers shop around to see who advertises lower rates, fewer than one in four actually end up submitting a loan application to more than one lender or broker – NOT filling out applications with multiple lenders to see which one can offer them the best deal.
  • 70 percent of consumers report relying on their lender or mortgage broker a lot to get information about mortgages.
  • The survey found that among all borrowers – those who shopped and those who did not – 42 percent said having an established banking relationship with the lender is “very important.” Since most borrowers likely only have a few banking relationships, this likely inhibits shopping.
  • Consumers who are confident in their knowledge about the mortgage process are more likely to shop around prix viagra en pharmacie.
  • Consumers who are confident about their knowledge of available interest rates are almost twice as likely to shop as consumers who are unfamiliar with available interest rates. The survey found that 55 percent of shoppers said they were very familiar with mortgage rates, while 30 percent of shoppers said they were not at all familiar.

Following this report release, as part of its “Know before You Owe” mortgage initiative, the CFPB announced it was releasing “Owning a Home,” an interactive, online toolkit designed to help consumers as they shop for a mortgage.

Anyone in the process of – or anticipating buying a home in the near future can access this virtual toolkit by clicking here. 

 

This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

Do You Know What Questions to Ask when Joining an HOA?

By John Voket

It's been awhile since I reported about homeowner associations or HOAs.

Neighborhood Link (neighborhoodlink.com) defines a HOA or Homeowner Association is a legal entity created to manage and maintain the common areas of a community. Typically these "common areas" consist of things like pools, clubhouses, landscaping, parks, streets and roads.

HOAs are typically set up by the original developer of the community with a set of rules called "Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions" otherwise known as "CC&Rs". One of the primary functions of the HOA is enforce and ensure that these "CC&Rs" are adhered to by the individual homeowners.

One Boulder, Colorado real estate blog (taylorrealtygroup.net) recently posted a helpful punch list of questions to ask if you are buying a house or condo that is governed by a HOA.

According to the Boulder blog, those questions should include:
 

  • How much are the dues?
  • What is the history of the due increases?
  • Does it include building insurance or not?
  • What are the specifics of the insurance and what insurance will you be required to carry vs. the HOA carries it for you?
  • Are there HOA budget reserves for things like concrete repair, deck repair, staining/painting/etc? Also, look at maintenance contracts like landscaping, security, snow removal etc. Do they look reasonable to you? Is one of the HOA members also one of the contractors?
  • If you haven’t already—find out how much the transfer fees and capital reserve requirements are when you close and negotiate to have the seller pay for them (unless you have already agreed otherwise)
  • Find out how many units are owner occupied versus rented out. The HOA will know this. If it’s higher than about 10 percent rentals then the blog advises: don’t buy it.
  • Find out the current status of all the membership dues. How many units are in the HOA and of that, how many are past due. How much?
  • Get the minutes from the past years HOA meetings and read the to see what kind of stuff they talk about and this will tell you how picky they are and what type of violations spur actions against residents.

This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

Q: What Is Seller Financing?

A: Also known as a purchase money mortgage, it is when the seller agrees to “lend” money to the buyer to purchase and close on the seller’s home. Usually sellers do this when money is tight, interest rates are high or when a buyer has difficulty qualifying for a conventional loan or meeting the purchase price.

Seller financing differs from a traditional loan because the seller does not actually give the buyer cash to complete the purchase, as does the lender.  Instead, it involves issuing a credit against the purchase price of the home.  The buyer executes a promissory note or trust deed in the seller’s favor.

The seller may take back a second note or finance the entire purchase if he owns the home free and clear.

The buyer makes a sizeable down payment and agrees to pay the seller directly every month.

The interest rate on a purchase money note is negotiable, as are the other terms in a seller-financed transaction, and is generally influenced by current Treasury bill and certificate of deposit rates. The rate may be higher than those on conventional loans, and the length of the loan shorter, anywhere from five to 15 years.

 

This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

New Year’s Resolutions That Will Keep Your Home Warm and Happy

With the New Year upon us, many people are reminded of their resolutions from the past year. Many resolved to keep up with their home maintenance. How did you do? Was your New Year’s resolution to fix those air leaks in the window? If you haven’t done it yet, the time is now. The winds of winter are here and that means that it’s time to assess your home’s insulation situation and save yourself some money while also providing your home with trendy new fashions. If you have never done it before, the first thing you should do to winterize your home is conduct an energy audit.

Hiring a professional energy auditor may seem unnecessary, but turning your home into an energy efficient machine will help you save more money in the long run. The auditor will point out spots of energy waste, poorly insulated areas and air leaks, and other places which are the main causes of higher-than-usual utility bills during the winter months. Once the auditor has pointed out the areas that need home improvement, it’s time to go about winterizing those areas to save as much money as possible.

The term "winterize" is used in professional inspection services to refer to houses that are going to be vacant during the winter. However, there are ways to prepare (winterize) your home while living in it, which effectively protects it from the damaging effects of the harsh weather. Consider these tips for helping you make it through the winter in a comfortable and cozy fashion.

• Improve insulation. Poor insulation can cost you money on your utility bill year round, but especially during the winter when your cozy warm air is seeping through different leaks. If your home is not well-insulated, you will end up spending more money on gas and electricity trying to keep the heat in during the winter and out during the summer. This makes insulation improvements a top priority on your New Year’s to-do-list for home repair and maintenance page.

– Insulate all piping exteriorly exposed.
– Insulate your hot water tank with an insulation blanket.

• Doors

– Install weatherstripping.
– Use a door sweep for extra insulation.
– Like storm windows, storm doors can help you save money by eliminating air leaks in this area.

• Windows

– Find air leaks and seal them with caulking.
– Consider installing storm windows.
– Insulate your windows and save money in the New Year with eco-friendly shades that can also help keep you warm during the winter. The use of custom window coverings can help your home keep the heat in when the winds are blowing.

• Roofing

– Replace missing or damaged shingles.
– Clean gutters and downspouts.
– Check flashing around chimneys and other roof protrusions. Air often leaks around these areas.

• Outdoor landscape

– Cover furniture and external air conditioners.
– If your deck needs it, seal it before the wet winter ruins it completely.
– Drain gas from lawn mowers, leaf blowers and other outdoor equipment.
– Drain water from fountains.
– Purge sprinkler systems by shutting off water and blowing compressed air through system.

Preparing your home for winter doesn’t have to mean locking yourself up in an igloo for four months! You can prepare your home for winter by redecorating your interior to match the seasonal trends and to add a new level of comfort and coziness to your humble abode.

Source: Budget Blinds

This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

Is Your REALTOR® Sharpening an Axe?

By Lynn Pineda

“If I had five minutes to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first three sharpening my axe.”

-Abraham Lincoln

Preparedness in anything can greatly increase our effectiveness and chance for success. In real estate, the same holds true. When the time comes to hire a REALTOR® that’s prepared to assist you in selling or buying your home, what should you expect? How should your REALTOR® sharpen his or her axe to be of greatest value to customers?

As a REALTOR®, it goes beyond simply getting a real estate license. Preparedness involves the desire to be the best that they can be; a true spirit for real estate. It requires the genuine desire to service their customers. This advocacy for their customer will result in home sellers and homebuyers being so thrilled by their real estate experience that they will want to scream their REALTOR’s® name from the rooftop. So how do REALTORs® get such acclamation? What gives those with spirit the edge in real estate? It begins with the following:

Stay on top of the real estate market, trends and news.

This means not only being aware of overall real estate industry news and trends, but knowing the local real estate market and trends as well. Real estate is local. The real estate market can differ from one city to another. Where is the market headed? Your REALTOR® needs to know your local market. What type of market are you in: a seller’s, balanced or buyer’s market? If you’re selling a home or buying a home, knowing the type of market will make all the difference in how you set yourself up for success. How long does it take homes to sell? What are the absorption rates? At what price points are homes selling? What is the ideal price point for you to position the home you’re selling? What can you expect to pay for a home as a homebuyer?

Frequent reporting by industry experts who share their insights on the real estate market keeps any REALTOR® informed of where the market is trending, and it’s important to seek out this information.

Be well aware of the mortgage industry.

Knowing mortgage options and the effect interest rates will have on the home buying process enables a REALTOR® to guide a prospective homebuyer. It also enables a REALTOR® to advise home sellers what to expect from the demands of homebuyers.

Network with other real estate industry professionals.

Networking with those at the top enables a REALTOR® to learn from the best. What better way to learn a profession than from those who have gone before and succeeded before. It isn’t always necessary to reinvent the wheel. Networking with real estate professionals can also make the REALTOR® top of mind, when a referral is needed in the city they service. This can bring you a top notch REALTOR® when a networking REALTOR® gets referred to you. Had this network never been established, you may not have had the opportunity to have such a skilled REALTOR® representing you.

Be at the forefront of the Web, social media and its trends.

Your REALTOR® needs to know the power of the Web, as its power contributes to the effectiveness of the home-selling process. Selling a home is about getting your home seen by qualified buyers. Over 92 percent of homebuyers start their home search online, after all. Having these homes seen by the masses will first require that REALTORs® have a strong online presence. REALTORs® accomplish this by knowing the importance of developing their websites/blogs with the proper SEO (search engine optimization) techniques that will showcase a REALTOR’s® experience, customer reviews, character and skill – evidence that they sell many homes and sell them well.

Having a strong social media presence will also be key. You’ll want to find them providing quality real estate content and interacting on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn, to name a few.

Be leery of any REALTOR® that isn’t on the first page of results when you Google their name. Today, buyers and sellers are online seeking real estate information and it’s up to any REALTOR® to make sure they’re providing online real estate value; smart, informational, up-to-the-minute, tech savvy information. Buyers and sellers will be drawn to REALTORs® who are clearly visible on the web. REALTORs® not found on the web should make you question their marketing ability. If they can’t market themselves, how will they ever market your home?

Hone in on skills necessary to be competent and efficient.

Expect your REALTOR® to be proficient in their ability to price a home, negotiate, problem solve and communicate toward the successful completion of a real estate transaction. Pricing a home is an art and demands a good understanding of the local market, and knowing how recent home sales, pending sales and active homes for sale compare to your home. Selling and buying a home requires in-depth negotiation skills from the moment a contract is presented, to contract acceptance, to inspections and right through to the day of closing. Problems will surface and having problem-solving abilities can smooth out any potential issues, keeping it from killing a sale. Last but not least, excellent communication skills are a requirement when dealing with so many different parties in a real estate transaction. You will have different personalities and emotions coming in from all angles and processing them will be key. Being good at reading people will direct the communication by simply reading their level of optimism or pessimism.

Continuing education

More education is required for both professional real estate licensing and for one’s own inquisitiveness and innate desire to stay in the know. Staying abreast of regulatory changes, housing regulations, real estate contract changes, along with any legislative updates are all critical, need to know facets of the business in order to ethically represent any seller or buyer.

In short, all of these real estate fundamentals will prove that preparedness and an ongoing eagerness to be the best at your craft will always benefit the customers being represented.

Lynn Pineda is a licensed Southeast Florida real estate agent.

View this original post on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall.

This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.